- Support for LGBT+ people is at a record high. Could this pave the way for law change?
Support for LGBT+ people has soared to record levels in Hong Kong, a new survey has found.
The Sexualities Research Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has just released the new figures.
They show Hong Kong’s citizens do want same-sex marriage and to protect LGBT+ people from discrimination.
Hong Kong support for LGBT+ equality
Among the highlights of the report, 60% of people surveyed agree there should be legal protection against discrimination for lesbian, gay and bi people. Another 27% stayed neutral.
And only 12% of those surveyed disagreed. That’s down from 35% in the last survey in 2016.
Moreover, 49% of the respondents believe same-sex couples should be able to marry. Again, 28% stayed neutral and only 23% disagreed.
What is more, younger Hong Kong citizens, aged 18 to 34, were even more supportive. Researchers found 80% supported protection against discrimination and the right to marry.
Taiwan, another Chinese-speaking country, has likely influenced Hong Kong. Last year, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to offer same-sex marriage.
The survey also found strong support for transgender people.
In particular, 74% of the respondents said they had heard of the term ‘transgender’. And just 18% of the respondents said they were unaccepting of transgender people.
When asked if the law should protect trans people from discrimination, only 10% said they disagreed.
Importantly, in a city driven by business, the survey found the public now supported businesses that are LGBT+ inclusive.
Researchers asked residents how they felt about businesses granting equal benefits to same-sex couples, supporting anti-discrimination laws and attending Pride. They found many were neutral but more supported pro-LGBT+ businesses than were negative towards them.
No reason not to pass LGBT+ equality laws
The research was carried out by Dr Yiu Tung Suen, Dr Randolph Chun Ho Chan and Eliz Miu Yin Wong. Hong Kong Gay and Lesbians Attorneys Network and businesses funded the work.
The researchers interviewed 1,058 Chinese-speaking people aged 18+.
Concluding their report, the researchers said: ‘Opposition towards LGBT+ legal rights in Hong Kong is now at a historical low.
‘The government/ politicians/ policy makers stand on no empirical ground to make the argument that Hong Kong is not ready to implement laws and policies that address equal rights for LGBT+ people in Hong Kong.
‘This study also debunks the myths that certain groups in society are necessarily against LGBT+ rights in Hong Kong.’
Right now, homosexuality is legal in Hong Kong with an equal age of consent. But there is no same-sex marriage, discrimination protection or access to adoption.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong has seen almost a year of anti-government protests by residents who fear the country is moving towards more direct rule from China, and therefore losing its autonomy.